J. C. Wenger’s memories of writing Franconia Mennonite history

Written by Forrest Moyer on March 8, 2017

In 1976, MHEP Newsletter editor Joyce Munro interviewed John C. Wenger about his memories of writing the book History of the Mennonites of the Franconia Conference in 1936. It’s fascinating to read about the process of creating this substantial book that is still in 2017 the best source for information on some aspects of Franconia Mennonite history, including ministers who have served in the conference. The book is available for purchase at the Mennonite Heritage Center.

We’re forty years too late

Continue Reading


New acquisition: Frederick Mennonite Home post card, circa 1905

Written by Forrest Moyer on March 1, 2017

A recent addition to the Mennonite Heritage Center collections is a post card photo of the Mennonite Home for the Aged at Frederick, Montgomery County, circa 1905. Notice the American flag flying prominently from the cupola. In the early 20th century, before the World Wars, churches of the Eastern District Conference often displayed flags. The post card is a gift of MHC Trustee Emeritus Ray K. Hacker. The catalog record can be viewed here.

It joins other images in the Frederick

Continue Reading


What’s in a field trip to the Heritage Center?

Written by Steve Diehl on February 22, 2017

We were glad to have the Souderton Charter School 7th graders visit us again today.  Such a polite and inquisitive group!  Here’s what our school field trips look like in the winter months:

After an introduction to the Center and finding out what students already know (this group had been well-prepared with recent study of Pennsylvania history and settlements), students are split into groups and rotate between three activity stations–Fraktur, Artifacts, and a Work and Hope scavenger hunt.

Paula Slemmer explains

Continue Reading


Heirloom Seeds in Museum Store

Written by Sarah Heffner on February 15, 2017
heirloom seeds, Mennonite Heritage Center, Harleysville

Spring (and gardening) is just around the corner! For those who enjoy gardening, perusing seed catalogs during the cold winter months brings the anticipation of another gardening season. Planning a garden and choosing which varieties to plant is always a hopeful exercise. I tend to overlook that I don’t always keep the weeds from predominating my garden by midsummer or that voles ruin my sweet potato harvest on a regular basis. One of these years, I will have a beautifully

Continue Reading


“Going to meeting” at Souderton, 1883-1902

Written by Forrest Moyer on February 8, 2017
Mennonite Heritage Center, Harleysville

Souderton Mennonite Meetinghouse, circa 1910

Another article from the first year of the MHEP Newsletter  features entries from the diary of William S. Hemsing (1866-1940) about his experiences at Souderton Mennonite Church. The full diary, subtitled An Intimate Look at Souderton, Pennsylvania, was published by Union National Bank in 1987 and is available to purchase in the Mennonite Heritage Center library for $8.00.

William Souder Hemsing, later to be Burgess of Souderton, was a teenage teller in the Union National Bank of

Continue Reading


New Acquisition: Provident Bookstore Photo Collection

Written by Forrest Moyer on February 1, 2017
Mennonite Heritage Center, Harleysville, PA

This month we’re featuring a photograph collection recently donated to the MHC: photos of the former Herald/Provident Bookstore in Souderton, mid 1950s-1990s.  The oldest photos date back to the original Herald Bookstore on Main Street and its move in 1957 to the new Souderton Shopping Center at Bethlehem Pike and Route 113.

The store was later renamed Provident Bookstore and eventually sold out of Mennonite hands, becoming Berean Christian Stores and finally Lifeway Stores, before closing permanently in February 2016. Long-term

Continue Reading


Quilts and stories from the “Riot of Color” exhibit

Written by Joel Alderfer on January 25, 2017
Mary Loux quilt, Mennonite Heritage Center

Several quilts in our current “Riot of Color” exhibit have interesting family stories or anecdotes that add a human dimension to the artifacts.  We’ll feature a number of these stories in this post.  The exhibit includes thirty quilts, mainly from the Mennonite Heritage Center collection, selected for their color, condition and design content.

Wedding or Dowry Quilts

These are quilts that were made, according to the family stories, either as wedding gifts for a young couple or were

Continue Reading


Taking On Immigration: Doing History in Reverse

Written by Steve Diehl on January 18, 2017

As a history teacher, I often felt somewhat uncomfortable with the person who told me, “Well, history is important…if we don’t know it, we are likely to repeat it.” It came across as a dismissal of the many more concrete reasons why historical study is beneficial. I was suspicious that this is what was said by those who really didn’t see any value in studying history–they just wanted to let me know they didn’t think I was wasting my life

Continue Reading


Glimpses of “Skippack” Mennonite Life, 1745-1760

Written by Forrest Moyer on January 11, 2017

Christopher Sower’s printing house, Germantown, Pa.

As announced, one feature of this blog will be the republishing of articles from past issues of the MHEP Newsletter and Quarterly. One of the first significant articles published in the Newsletter, when it began in 1975, was a translation by John Ruth of Mennonite-related material published in Christopher Sower’s German newspaper, 1745-1760. We present it here again for your enjoyment and education. Editor’s notes are original to the Ruth article.

Christopher Sower‘s newspaper, Pensylvanische Berichte

Continue Reading


New acquisition: Anna Funk tunebook

Written by Forrest Moyer on January 4, 2017
Mennonite Heritage Center

For several years, the MHC has featured an “Artifact of the Week” on our Facebook page, and a selection of recent acquisitions on our Library & Collections webpage. In 2017, we’ll combine those features into a monthly highlight here on the blog, where we will share the story of an interesting artifact or collection recently donated to the MHC.

This month we’re featuring a 1786 manuscript tunebook with not one, but TWO beautiful fraktur bookplates and a poetic inscription by the

Continue Reading